In LonsdaleNET, we use the Xero accounting platform which I trialled shortly after it became available in the UK and found it very good - certainly a lot less cumbersome than Sage and with the added benefit of being in the cloud allowing those involved to access from anywhere. The files feature was a clincher for me as it allows us to scan in and attach each supplier invoice to the transaction meaning we can run a paperless office.

One annoyance I have found is the lack of an easy way to deal with payments from multiple customers that arrive as one payment. For us, this is Direct Debits. The vast majority of our income is small payments of £20-£50 but all these arrive as one payment in our bank account. Reconciling these was easy when we had a small number of customers but as we approach the 1,000 customer mark, it has become a chore to do this at month end.

After being convinced by my girlfriend wood desks were the way to go in the new office (personally was a fan of black glass), I found out just how hard it was to find something I actually liked.

After trolling the usual furniture sites, I resorted to Google Images to easily hunt and came across where somebody had essentially ordered a custom cut slab of wood from a supplier and mounted legs to it. While I didn't like the metal legs they had mounted, I liked the idea of a slab of wood for a desk.

So, having watched the second election debate last night, along with a large number of the population if early viewing figures released are anything to go by, we are now in full swing and ready for polling day in just under 2 weeks time.

After listening to the issues raised in the previous debate and this debate along with the planned topics for next week's debate, it got me thinking about the satirical British sitcom Yes, Minister and the sequel, Yes, Prime Minister. I previously seen all episodes of this on UK Gold and notice they have once again been showing it in the run up to the election. Anyway, thinking about it and looking back at the episode list, it is amazing how many episodes actually are similar to current affairs, some of which I have detailed below.

Today it has been proved that small villages don't need to be left behind when it comes to faster speed internet access. Rutland Telecom found that there was nothing stopping them performing what is known as Sub Loop Unbundling (SLU).

Some of you may know of Local Loop Unbundling (LLU - very common in the UK) where a company fits their own equipment in the telephone exchange and then simply connect lines to their equipment instead of the incumbent operator's equipment. This allows them to bypass the incumbent's network and cut costs. Sub Loop Unbundling on the other hand is done by building a new cabinet next to an existing street cabinet, fitting some equipment into it and then connecting lines to this equipment instead of to the initial street cabinet. The advantage of this is your syncronisation speed is then determined by the distance you are from the street cabinet rather than the distance from the exchange.

Well, its official. T-Mobile (the company I have business mobile contracts for a few businesses I am involved with) and Orange have decided to merge operations within the UK.

T-Mobile has had the "For Sale" sign on its UK operation for a few months now to reduce debt at the parent company - Deutsche Telekom. Both O2 and Vodafone had shown some interest based on media speculation but in the end they have opted for a deal which will see a new company in the UK created - the name of which has not yet been announced (although The Register appear to like T-Orange) - and both Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom (Orange UK's parent company) getting a 50% stake each. Both the T-Mobile and Orange brands will stay for at least 18 months but after that we will most likely see these phased out and replaced with a single new name. During the next 18 months, through, back office staff will be merged within the company with the aim of cost cutting and removing duplication.

Several years ago, the UK led the way in cutting fraud for cardholder present transactions by introducing EMV which many of you will know as "Chip and Pin". After phasing out the swiping of cards with customers signing for transactions and requiring people to use their PIN to confirm a transaction, fraud was cut overnight. Sadly it wasn't a total success as although we stopped fraud over in the UK, fraud of UK cards moved abroad. This is because outside the UK, not all countries have rolled out EMV even to this day. On the plus side, as these countries roll out EMV, we will become even more protected.

Separately, in cardholder not present transactions, for many years now, we have been trying to combat both credit / debit card fraud (both online and over the phone transactions) and online banking fraud.

I am a technology enthusiast living up in Carlisle, Cumbria in the UK and am the managing director of Its Elixir which sells Henna Hair Care Products and Ear Candles, Craig Brass Systems which creates and custom develops quality software and LonsdaleNET which delivers high speed wireless and fibre optic broadband in Cumbria.